When people ask me why I like cycling, I know they’re not fans themselves so I tend to come up with a snappy answer, such as “What’s not to like? Lots of cute guys and gals in lycra”. This week I received an email with the above title from Bicycling Magazine, an American publication. One of their female writers had compiled a list of her 10 Tour favourites. Immediately, and in one fell swoop, she’s whittled down the list of suspects to under 200 riders. Not something I’m sure I could achieve. Her limiting criteria were as follows: who looked good in yellow (only 5 contenders), who has a great smile and the best looking Italians. I’m not sure exactly why the Italians were singled out for this honour rather than say the French, Spanish or Russian. Interestingly, a large number of her picks fell into that select (but ever growing) sub-set of riders who weigh more than me but there were also a couple who fell into the category of “Cute, but could I get him in a larger size?”
Her list was as follows:-
- George Hincapie – it’s an American magazine and if one closely examines the list of contenders, he’s the most worthy candidate.
- Linus Gerdemann – small, German, blonde haired but a bit too girly.
- Thor Hushovd – wearer of the yellow jersey, the world champion and all-round cycling god.
- Ivan Basso – Italian but a wee bit too sharp featured.
- Bernard Eisel – Cav minder.
- Tom Boonen – a man who undisputedly looks good in lycra.
- Manuel Quinziato – another Italian, smoulders more than Basso.
- Alessandro Petacchi – another good looking Italian but worryingly the author singled out his brown eyes for comment: they’re blue.
- Edvald Boassen Hagen – she’s got a bit of a Norse theme developing here.
- Ben Swift – best looking Brit.
It’s fair to say that her readers were not wholly in agreement with her choices and it provoked much debate. So the article achieved it’s purpose. The most commented upon ommission by far was Fabian Cancellara, awesome on a bike, great hair but a bit long in the jaw IMHO, but equally there were votes for, in no particular order:-
- Johnny Hoogerland
- Jens Voight
- Mark Cavendish
- Philippe Gilbert
- Jakob Fuglsang
- Andreas Klier
- Andreas Kloden
- Frank and Andy Schleck
- Dave Zabriskie
- Nico Roche
To my mind there are a number of startling omissions. Firstly, there are no Spaniards nor Frenchmen in the list. Meaning she’s ignored or wilfully discarded a large percentage of the peloton. Surely, PhilGil who graced the yellow jersey and who has a lovely smile was worthy of inclusion on two counts? Or what about my own favourite smile who looked so cute in the spotted jersey? What about hidden gems, after all it’s not often that you get to see the riders without their helmets and glasses and it’s very unwise to select on the basis of their dodgy photographs on the team websites which all look as if they were taken in airport photo booths. Clearly this is a debate that could rumble on forever and it’s just as well that everyone has different tastes otherwise, based on some of the comments, I’d be advising Mrs Cancellara to lock up her man!